I met Heather Rock for coffee a couple of weeks ago. We discussed our businesses, and how we both changed our lives completely to do what we are passionate about. I loved her enthusiastic, straight-forward, healthy approach to fitness, so I asked her to share some tips for brides looking to get in shape for their big day. And after photographing this boot-camp, I was impressed by her gentle but tough style. These girls worked HARD! Heather kept them encouraged the whole time.
Most people start planning their weddings a year in advance. The list of things to arrange can be long– venues, photographers, dress, invitations…you get the idea. One thing that isn’t always addressed in advance is the couple’s fitness goals, which can create additional stress. Make fitness a part of your early wedding planning! Consider exercise and proper nutrition as an investment in a long and healthy marriage. The earlier you start, the easier your health and fitness goals will be to achieve. Consider meeting with a trainer to discuss your goals and create a game plan.
2. Think long term rather than a quick fix:
Along the same lines as “starting early”, long-term thinking related to your health and fitness is valuable. My training philosophy is that sustainability is key. Excessive training and dieting is mentally and physically challenging and unsustainable. Strict exercise and fitness regimes might yield positive results but are difficult to maintain over a long period and can wind up impacting your physical, emotional and mental health—not to mention resulting in rebound weight gain once the plan has ended. Unfortunately, this pattern is becoming increasingly common (to the point where “bridorexia” is actually considered a word on Google). A wedding symbolizes a long-term commitment to your partner—why not also make a long-term commitment to your health? (Note: a juice cleanse is not a long-term commitment!)
3. Make fitness fun:
In keeping with my thoughts on sustainability, if your fitness plan is fun, the more likely you are to do it. Hate running? Try swimming! Hate swimming? Maybe you’ll like Zumba! Think Zumba is silly? Weightlifting might be your thing!
Pick something you like and don’t be afraid to try new things. Mixing it up can help you get out of an exercise rut and find new motivation! Changing up what you do, such as adding some strength training into an only-cardio regime, will not only help you break through any weight-loss plateaus, but will keep things interesting and challenging!
4. Get your friends involved:
One of the biggest sources of motivation for my workouts is my friends. We encourage and push each other, adding a little element of friendly competition. Sometimes it feels a little easier knowing that your friend is hating that burpee set as much as you are! (Just kidding! Everyone loves burpees!). One option is to get the wedding or bridal party involved in weekly group training or bootcamp sessions. I offer customized group classes for my clients and their friends, working with their unique training goals and schedules.
5. Create an ally or challenge your partner:
Get buy-in from your future spouse on your health and fitness plan. Sticking to a workout regime will be easier if you encourage each other. If you are tuning up your nutrition, it might be easier to stick to your plan if they are supportive. This will help you avoid watching your partner eat poutine and drink beer enjoying hours of hockey while you go for a run and refuel with an apple! Alternately, you can create a more active alternative that involves spending time together.
As you’re probably already experiencing, planning for a wedding can be stressful. The benefits of relaxation on your overall health and well-being are multifaceted. Stress increases cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your body that can impact energy levels and stall weight loss. Finding ways to incorporate relaxing activities into each day is important. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep, do yoga/meditate, spend time with friends, and chill out in nature such as going for a walk or relaxing on the beach.
7. Never underestimate a tan:
A tan can add to your healthy glow, creating a more lean appearance and enhance muscle definition. I recommend a spray tan over UV rays in order to protect your skin, there are many natural looking options. It is a good idea to test out a few bronzing options early on…avoiding an oompa-loompa glow on your big day.